Runaway from reality, responsibility - Greg Gelpi

The pressure, such tremendous pressure to walk down an aisle, say a couple of words and live happily ever after.

Without even inserting her name into this column, you already know who I'm writing about. So many aspects of this woman, this situation blow my mind that I'm not even sure where to begin on this one.

Let's start with her feeble attempt at what she claims to be an excuse for her actions. She offers what she feels to be a valid excuse, and her family and friends appear to back her on this, that extreme pressure about the day that many girls dream of drove her to the breaking point.

The pressure was so great that she abandoned her husband-to-be, abandoned her family, abandoned her friends.

The pressure was so great that she concocted some hair-brained story of being kidnapped and the only crazier thing than the story was that she actually told the story to cops with a straight face.

Pardon me for a quick aside while I take this opportunity to hope that she is not pursuing a career, such as a doctor, police officer or soldier to name just a few professions under slightly greater pressure and slightly greater consequences for succumbing to that pressure.

Talk circles around about her mental state. Is she nuts? Absolutely. Does she deserve a free pass for being nuts? Absolutely not.

Her boyfriend appears on national television, confused as to why there is such a public outcry, confused as to why she can't be nonchalantly forgiven for a simple mistake, while the media circus packs up and leaves town.

The fact of the matter is that she didn't make one mistake. She made a series of mistakes, and the word "mistake" is too generous for her calculating actions.

Her first mistake was saying "yes" to a marriage proposal she was unsure of, but as witnessed by the high divorce rates of today she isn't alone on that one.

Next she made the mistake, if you can call it that, of fleeing without telling anyone and without explanation.

The so-called mistakes continued as she mistakenly cut her hair to conceal her identity, mistakenly lied to police and mistakenly didn't apologize to the hundreds who searched and thousands who prayed for her.

A mistake is ordering a pizza and forgetting to pick it up. A pizza goes to waste and a minimum wage employee lost a few minutes of time.

Her "mistake" cost taxpayers more than $100,000 as costs continue to add up and countless law enforcement officials hours upon hours of work.

It's a good thing that law enforcement are paid so well and aren't already stretched thin with anti-terrorism responsibilities, courtroom security and other pressing matters.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do, and the right thing is for her to make a public apology, not simply a statement, and personal apologies to each of the men and women of law enforcement and the volunteers, who helped search for her.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.